sariagray: (TW: Jack TTLM)
[personal profile] sariagray
Title: Seasons Change
Author: [ profile] sariagray
Rating: PG13
Characters/Pairings: Jack/Ianto, Gwen, Team
Spoilers and Warnings: Language. Also, apparently, tissue warning! Spoilers up through Season 4.
Summary: A few brief glimpses at an evolving relationship.
Beta: [ profile] analineblue <3
Author Notes: I like seasons, I guess. This was mostly an exercise in getting myself to write again. Apparently, it was successful. Because I wrote. Again. ;) Credit goes to [ profile] chamilet for her prompt suggestion. :)

Seasons Change


Ianto leans against Toshiko’s workstation. The Hub, and the metal of the desk, is cool compared to the rough twenty eight degrees outside (Celsius, he reminds Jack every time, though he’s pretty sure Jack’s being difficult on purpose), but it’s still heavily humid. The air is infused with the mildewed damp that Ianto has spent the past two weeks trying to beat back with every sort of cleanser he could find.

He’d left Jack with a small stack of simple paperwork over an hour ago. Maybe it’s done, maybe it isn’t. Ianto is far too uncomfortable with the state of the atmosphere to care right now. Maybe Jack’s tossing pencils upwards to see if they stick in the ceiling. It’d hardly be a surprising turn of events.

“You okay?”

Ianto looks up at the sound of Jack’s voice and nods. He stands up straight and makes to tidy Tosh’s station. He places the bits of unreturned archived tech and their subsequent wires and washers into a box to shelve downstairs. It’s even more dank down there, unfortunately, but it has to be done. Jack props himself up against the doorframe and watches; Ianto doesn’t look over, but he can feel the shift of air currents and the familiar sounds of Jack’s forced casualness.

“You should head home.” There’s a strange hitch of hesitation in Jack’s voice before it resumes its full Captain’s bravado. “It’s late. That stuff – it won’t go anywhere.”

Ianto sets the cardboard box on the chair and almost misses the mark. The weight of the air, its moisture, is getting to him. Or maybe it’s that he hasn’t eaten since a solitary slice of pizza at lunch. Or that he hadn’t slept more than two hours the previous night.

“There’s a bed, if you need it,” Jack finishes.

The box begins to tip over and Ianto catches it, painfully, with his knee. He can’t tell if Jack’s coming on to him, or if he thinks Ianto’s homeless. He also can’t tell which of the two options he prefers. He turns his head and sees Jack: the taut, tense muscles undermining his practiced incline. Jack’s gaze is soft and decidedly not leering.

“I’ve a perfectly serviceable bed at home, sir.” With central air, thank you.

Jack’s face relaxes into something more lecherous. “Is that an invitation?” Both of his eyebrows rise.

“Maybe.” The word has already been implanted into Jack’s brain before Ianto can stop himself.

Jack grins, and it’s fine, really, because at least Ianto will be in a chilled flat that won’t smell of mildew and the density of heat. That’s probably the only reason Jack’s interested in coming back with him, anyway.


“Gwen,” Jack says and Ianto touches his comm to listen in before turning the key in the ignition. “We’ve got nothing. Anything on your end?”

Owen’s doing one last loop around the warehouse, but so far not a thing. Is that normal?

It’s rare,” Toshiko’s voice pipes up, tinny and soft, “but it does happen. I have a theory about particles, but nothing solid. In any case, if the scanners aren’t picking anything up, it’s probably harmless.”

“Right. Head back once Owen’s done. Ianto and I will pick up lunch. Any preferences?”

Can we do Thai? That little place by Bute Park?”

“Sure, Gwen,” Ianto says. “Usual orders?”

They all respond simultaneously with various words of acquiescence, and get off the comms. Ianto pulls out his PDA and Jack chuckles.

“You know,” he says as Ianto busies himself, “they all think you’ve got their orders memorized.”

“Who says I don’t?” Ianto mutters absently.

“Fine. It’ll be our little secret.”

The wind picks up, bringing a sharp cold from off the bay through the open window. The leaves have hardly turned yet, though some small piles clutter the car park. Most of those that have fallen are the dull, dried brown of dead foliage. Every year, Ianto feels like he notices the beginnings of reds and oranges in with the fading green of summer and then, in between blinks, the trees are bare. He’s always disappointed when he realizes that he’s missed the best part.

“Are you going to call it in?” Jack asks after a long moment.

Ianto shakes his head. “No, let’s order when we get there and then we can….” He trails off, unsure of what he was going to suggest they do.

Jack seems to know, though, because he nods and smiles. “The park’s nice this time of year,” he says. “We could walk around a bit, you could beat up a weevil with a stick, it’d be like old times.”

Laughing despite himself, Ianto shakes his head and backs out of the parking space. As he lays his arm behind Jack’s headrest and looks back, Jack reaches up awkwardly and squeezes Ianto’s hand once.


It had been cold enough as it was, wrapped in layers of wool, but Ianto’s coat is now soaked through with frigid water. Which is what generally happens when a coat is dropped into a tiny stream in the throes of a mid-winter chill. In Ianto’s defense, the coat had severely limited his range of motion, which is never good while chasing a who-knows-what with sharp teeth and hook-like claws through the woods. At first, the adrenaline and the exertion had been enough to keep the cold at bay. Now, though, trekking through a copse of trees in the dark of midnight with just a torch between them, Ianto can practically feel his bones rattling.

“Cold?” Jack asks. He sounds, at first, like he’s making casual conversation, but Ianto’s learned to read the pattern of his breaths and he knows Jack’s concerned.

“I’m fine,” Ianto manages. His leg muscles spasm and he stumbles over the forest detritus. Jack catches his arm. “I’ll be fine.”

It’s only a two mile hike, at most, but Ianto feels so tired. They’ve been walking now for less than ten minutes and he’s already contemplating giving up. Not seriously, of course, but there’s a nice fir up ahead to rest against. It’s the wildest, most pleasurable fantasy he’s had for a long while. And that’s saying something.

“You’re pale.”

“I’m Welsh.”

Jack laughs a little, nasal and false. “Will you please take my coat?”

“I told you,” Ianto stutters, “then you’ll be cold. It’s not far. I’ll be fine.”

For the next few minutes, it’s like his body’s moving through thick syrup. Jack guides him, by the elbow, around an upraised tree root and then grasps Ianto close, holding him still. It’s not much of a challenge, really; Ianto hardly has the energy to resist.

“Wear the coat,” Jack practically pleads.

“No, it’s –”

“You will take this coat and you will wear it or I will suspend you for insubordination.”

Ianto closes his eyes and shudders as the body-warmed wool is wrapped around him. It’s nice, and it smells like Jack, and he doesn’t really want to move. He knows the threat is completely empty; there’s just the three of them now and they can hardly afford to be down a field agent. Or an archivist. Or a caretaker. Or whatever the hell he is.

“Less than a mile left. As soon as we get home, you’re getting changed into warm clothes. Please tell me you still have the hot water bottles Owen gave you.”

“Mmhmm,” Ianto manages.

Jack’s walking so close to him now, like he’s trying to share his body heat. Ianto almost wishes it were possible to navigate the woods with Jack wrapped around him.

“We didn’t have winter where I’m from,” Jack says after a moment and then chuckles a little. His hand is still close to Ianto’s elbow, like he’s helping an old woman to cross the street. “We had a very brief rainy season, but otherwise it was perpetually warm. It’s hell to get used to the cold, but then, I’ve had time to acclimate.”

Ianto smiles a bit at Jack’s babbling. He smiles all the way through it, actually, as he warms to a more normal temperature. His toes and fingers are still frigid and prickly, but his body is much more comfortable when they reach the SUV.

Jack practically dives in to turn the heat all the way up, and Ianto is grateful that he’d thought to fill up on petrol that morning. Taking Ianto’s hands in his own, Jack holds them close and breathes hotly over them. They tingle.

“You don’t have frostbite,” Jack says after a moment. “That’s good.” There’s a pause as Ianto, eyes closed, enjoys the warmth. “Don’t you dare do that again. You don’t have to be a fucking hero.”

Ianto’s eyelids fly open at the tenseness of Jack’s voice and he stares at him. There’s a retort on his lips, ready to be spoken, but it withers away when he sees Jack’s glare; it’s a mixture of anger and fear and Ianto feels a flutter of something in his chest. It’s probably just his internal organs thawing.


Gwen Cooper has seen many strange things in the past few years, but the strangest has got to be Jack Harkness sipping a cup of tea at her kitchen table with Anwen balanced on his lap. There are, in fact, so many strange things about this tableau that her head has begun to throb. First off, he’s drinking tea. But then, she supposes that it must be difficult; even she’s had a hard time swallowing a cup of coffee down these past two years.

“You were saying?” she says as she busies herself in the refrigerator. Rhys had done up a soup of some sort, and there was bread, so that was dinner sorted. She peers out of the kitchen window at the blossoming tree outside. She never had figured out what it was, but she’s pleased that it’s growing healthily.

“He left…he left some things for you. There was a box in his flat with your name on it. Some things of yours he’d borrowed, and some other stuff.”

Gwen looks up just in time to notice the white of his knuckles where they encircle the handle of the mug and the distant, faraway expression in his eyes. She’s glad that Rhys has stepped out for the weekend to visit his parents, and even more glad that he now has the freedom to do so; after they all (save Rex, of course, for obvious reasons) had made the trek back to Wales, the Cooper-Williams household was taken off of surveillance and could finally move about freely once more.

“Okay,” she says and moves to stand behind him. She rests her hands on his shoulders. She’d seen Ianto do it enough when Jack had been in a state, and maybe it’s not the best thing to do in this case, but it’s all she has right now. “Do you have it?”

Anwen gurgles and bangs a spoon on the tabletop, and Jack chuckles, which is a good thing, except that it sounds so desperately hollow.

“It’s in storage. Back in Cardiff. I gave his sister the rest and then some.”

His sentences are clipped short and of an unfamiliar, strange cadence. She takes a seat across from him, grabs his hand, and gently pries his fingers from the mug. She sits there for a moment, just watching him and clutching his hand tightly.

“Didn’t he leave anything for you?”

Jack is silent for a long while, his attention seemingly on his squirming niece, but Gwen knows him well. She knows that look, that pre-prevarication glaze. It clears.

“He left me plenty.”

Anwen starts fussing, so Gwen stands and takes her from Jack, hushing her in preparation for her nap. Jack doesn’t move as she walks to the nursery, which is just as well. She needs a minute. Or ten. Or a very long time, because before she knows it, Jack is standing awkwardly at her side. He’s too large for the nursery, or too small for the house. She can’t tell anymore.

“She’s beautiful,” he says and leans down to kiss Anwen on the forehead. She coos in her sleep and then her tiny bootied foot kicks him as he’s pulling away. “And she definitely takes after you.” He rubs at his jaw.

Gwen laughs and then sobers quickly. “Will you be all right?”

Jack nods. “Of course. I’ve got my two favorite girls.” He kisses Gwen’s cheek and makes for the kitchen again. When he reaches the doorway of the nursery, he turns around. “He was going to dote on her, you know.”

“Yeah,” Gwen says with a watery smile. “I know. And I’ll be sure she knows it, too.”

The End

Date: 2011-11-15 10:28 pm (UTC)
ext_76727: (TW: ianto profile purple shirt)
From: [identity profile]
Oh, that last one broke me! I should not read fic so early in the morning. Now I want to curl up under the doona and watch Classic Torchwood all day. This was beautiful, hon.

Date: 2011-11-16 09:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks hun! :) And I so want to do that, too. Torchwood slumber party! lol

Date: 2011-11-16 10:48 pm (UTC)
ext_76727: (Cute: prepare to be boarded)
From: [identity profile]
I'll send an invite to Gareth. You never know... ;P

Date: 2011-11-16 11:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

You know his address? ;) Or are you just writing "Gareth David-Lloyd, Wales" on the envelope? lol :D

Date: 2011-11-17 12:04 am (UTC)
ext_76727: (Christmas: i want your naughty list)
From: [identity profile]
I'll send it with Santa. He'll know where to go! :)

Date: 2011-11-15 11:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Dammit! Those last 2 lines have me crying right now.

Why do these two break my heart so?

Date: 2011-11-16 09:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
*Hands you tissues* They must practice.

Date: 2011-11-15 11:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I love the set up. The last part is especially moving. I love Jack's response that Ianto left him "plenty." He probably got the good stuff - all the wonderful memories.

Date: 2011-11-16 09:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you! He definitely did get the good stuff. :D

Date: 2011-11-16 12:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
OH! This is the perfect fic, and I'm so glad you posted it. I'm new to Torchwood (Crazy, I know!), and I adore Ianto/Jack. Your fic was very clever, and very, very moving. You are really talented. Thanks so much for sharing!

Date: 2011-11-16 09:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Welcome! *Hands you welcome basket* :D And thank you so much for your kind words! I'm glad you enjoyed!

Date: 2011-11-16 12:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ooh. Oh. ;____;

Very good. Nice subtlety with some of the evolutions here, some of the developments between the seasons.

Date: 2011-11-16 09:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you! :D I'm glad the subtlety came through - that's the trouble with subtlety! ;)

Date: 2011-11-16 12:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
When I saw it was through season four - I wasn't going to read - but since you wrote it I had to. Oh that was painful. I've been trying to think what Ianto would have left Gwen.

Date: 2011-11-16 09:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
*flails a bit* Thank you, that's quite a high compliment! In my head, he'd borrowed some DVDs, but he also left her his diary. He can't give it to Rhiannon, because, you know, it's...classified. And he can't give it to Jack's...Jack. There's probably some other stuff in there, too. Who knows!

Date: 2011-11-16 06:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You have such a beautiful way with words. This here...
Every year, Ianto feels like he notices the beginnings of reds and oranges in with the fading green of summer and then, in between blinks, the trees are bare. He’s always disappointed when he realizes that he’s missed the best part.
...just perfect.

And yeah, the tissue warning was necessary :)

Date: 2011-11-16 09:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
<3 Thank you! I'm glad that I didn't warn unnecessarily. Thank [ profile] analineblue who totally suggested it! lol

Date: 2011-11-16 06:48 am (UTC)
ext_3966: (Default)
From: [identity profile]
You see, this is why I don't read post-COE fic. Because it makes me sad (and a little angry even after all this time). At least the beauty makes the sadness a little easier to bear. *sigh*

Date: 2011-11-16 09:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you, hun! Sorry to make you sad. I don't even know why I feel the need to cling to writing all the sad stuff; it makes me sad, too. :-/

Date: 2011-11-16 11:51 am (UTC)
ext_225374: (Default)
From: [identity profile]
oh wow! I can hardly hold back the tears. I don't want to cry about it anymore, damn!

Wonderful piece of work.

Date: 2011-11-16 09:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you! :D I know, I find myself crying about it more often than I'd like, too. *Hands out tissues*

Date: 2011-11-16 02:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This was perfect ♥

Date: 2011-11-16 09:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
<3 Thank you!

Date: 2011-11-16 04:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

Also, loved this. Love the slow build between them, and yes, even the heartrending ending.

Date: 2011-11-16 09:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
ME TOO. So why do I write them? IDEK.

And thank you! :)

Date: 2011-11-16 07:36 pm (UTC)
ext_41651: Ianto shiny with mobile (poutandstars)
From: [identity profile]
I had that experience of looking at the trees and realising I didn't notice when the leaves had dropped only this morning!! For some reason, the bit that brought tears to my eyes was the bit when Jack squeezed Ianto's hand.

I loved this, a bit heartbreaking, I normally avoid these sort of stories, but it was you so worth the angst.

Date: 2011-11-16 09:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you! :D <3 I'm really tickled that you read it anyway, despite avoiding. :D (And isn't autumn just like that? I get so excited for it all year, and then it must all happen really fast when I'm asleep, because suddenly, it's winter!)

Date: 2011-11-16 07:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Beautifully done. I love the development of their relationship following progression through the seasons. After all this time I'm still sad thinking about Ianto and the life they should have had together. "Some people" are just so unfair in what they think makes a "great story".

Date: 2011-11-16 09:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you! I'm glad you liked it! :D

Date: 2011-11-17 01:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This just chimes. Thank you.

Date: 2011-11-19 07:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you! :D <3

Date: 2011-11-17 10:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Heartbreaking fic seem to be the order of the day today. Must be something in the water. I love the details in this, the way they dance around each other in the first, asking without asking like they do in canon,and seem so comfortable with each other in the second.Jack saying so much more when he tells Ianto that he doesn't have to be a hero and then later telling Gwen Ianto left him plenty really got to me. You have such a great way with words I hope this inspires you to write more.

Date: 2011-11-19 07:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Or the air - I swear, the end of autumn makes me a melancholy girl. Thank you so much; and inspiration has definitely kicked in, if only temporarily. I'm really happy it resonated! :D

Date: 2011-11-18 07:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh, I like this. All the seasons and the way you wrote them. I think I liked the last best for its symbolism, though.

Date: 2011-11-19 07:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you! :D The last bit is my favorite, too.

Date: 2011-11-18 07:30 pm (UTC)
chamilet: (Default)
From: [personal profile] chamilet
When he reaches the doorway of the nursery, he turns around. “He was going to dote on her, you know.”

I lost it. Silent sobs. At work.

Honored to have inspired this.

Date: 2011-11-19 07:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
<3 Thank you for the inspiration! :D And I'm sorry it caused tears at work! :(

Date: 2011-11-19 03:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Beautiful. My favorite bit was Jack squeezing Ianto's hand awkwardly. I adore when they are at their part of their relationship, where they may want a bit more, and try to reach out, but it's cutely awkward. Thank you!!

Date: 2011-11-19 07:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Their occasional uncertainty and awkwardness is really beautiful. Thank you so much! <3


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